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Bailey dismisses 'B-Team' jibe

By Jordan Gerrans
10 January 2013 03:45PM EST

NEW Australian one-day international captain George Bailey has suggested that Channel 9 has played a key role in the widespread accusation that the Aussies are fielding a B-Team against Sri Lanka at the MCG on Friday.

Australia will go into the opening ODI match of the season without regular limited-overs players such as captain Michael Clarke, David Warner, Matthew Wade and the retiring Michael Hussey. 

Clarke, Warner and Wade will all be rested after a gruelling summer so far with three-Test series against South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Australia's team on Friday night will include three unproven international one-day players, Aaron Finch, Phil Hughes and Usman Khawaja, who will fill the top three batting slots in the first of five ODIs against Sri Lanka.

All three have been in scintillating form this summer with Finch leading the Big Bash League runs scorers and well ahead in the Ryobi Cup run scoring list, followed by Hughes and Khawaja.

Tasmanian Bailey says he can understand the criticism from Channel 9, but believes the side he will captain will be highly competitive.

"I think they're about to go into negotiations for the TV rights, I think that was a pretty tactical move to try and talk down one-day cricket and what the Australian team's putting out," Bailey said.

"It's still the Australian cricket team, isn't it? I'm sure Sri Lanka won't be taking it as an Australia 'B-Team'."

Bailey thought it would be exciting for the Australian public to see three debutants at the top of the order with an eye to the 2015 ODI World Cup.

"There's no doubt there's one eye on different tours this year and also on the World Cup in 2015," Bailey said after training at the MCG on Thursday.

"I think if these guys perform really well, what you could see (this series) is the core of the Australian side come 2015.

"Going forward I think you'll see these guys a lot more in one-day cricket, I think you'll see some of them play Test cricket.

"So the calibre of player is certainly there.

"All three have earned their place, their domestic records are outstanding.

"They all have outstanding games for international cricket.

"It's a huge opportunity and a great one ... what you want from your top four, top five (batsmen) in one-day cricket is for them to score the bulk of the runs and to win you the game.

"Whether it's your first game or your 50th game, that expectation doesn't change."

Australia team for First ODI against Sri Lanka: George Bailey (c), Xavier Doherty, Aaron Finch, Brad Haddin, Phil Hughes, David Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Glenn Maxwell, Clint Mckay, Mitchell Starc.

Australia's inexperienced one-day international team:

Aaron FINCH (debutant)
Phil HUGHES (debutant)
Usman KHAWAJA (debutant)
George BAILEY (13 caps)
David HUSSEY (64 caps)
Glenn MAXWELL (4 caps)
Brad HADDIN (93 caps)
Mitchell JOHNSON (112 caps)
Clint McKAY (32 caps)
Mitchell STARC (11 caps)
Xavier DOHERTY (37 caps)

Total caps: 366 caps

(-- caps figures courtesy of AAP)

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